Press Round Up September 2021
The Halifax reveals that bargain basement mortgage rates have pushed house prices to record highs. Jeremy Leaf, principal of Jeremy Leaf & Co, told The Evening Standard: ’These prices are as much to do with stock shortages and cheap mortgage finance as activity.’ He explained further in The Express: 'Market strength has not run its course and we are finding pent-up demand is alive and well, resulting in plenty of transactions, albeit at a lower level than we saw a few months ago.'
Rental shortage hotspots have been revealed, with the Isle of Wight, West Devon and Cornwall leading the way. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Mail: ‘As the commitment to commute has declined, so has demand to live in coastal or country areas increased. Others have enjoyed being by the seaside so much they have turned temporary stays into more permanent ones. The result has been an increase in demand, which supply has struggled to match, particularly recently in the staycation season. Other owners have taken refuge in the short let and Airbnb market, which also kept longer-term rental stock levels down. Although traditionally September and October are the busiest months for rentals, the demand and supply imbalance is likely to continue at least until the end of the year when poorer weather should dampen demand to the extent that rents will inevitably soften.'
Housing transactions in the first eight months of the year surpassed one million for the first time since 2007, say HM Revenue and Customs. Jeremy Leaf told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Enquiries are still considerably above pre-pandemic levels, though less activity will mean price growth is likely to continue to slow towards the end of the year.'
The number of mortgage approvals dipped to the lowest levels in a year in August, according to the Bank of England. Jeremy Leaf told The Independent:’As always, mortgage approvals are a good lead indicator of purchasing intentions. However, because they reflect decisions made in the period leading up to August, they show demand remaining relatively healthy even though the final stamp duty holiday and furlough deadlines were looming large.’ He explained further in This is Money: 'We are finding that activity has reduced since but certainly not fallen off a cliff, so expect fairly consistent mortgage approval numbers for the rest of the year at least.'
House prices in London dropped to £495,000 between June and July this year as the stamp duty holiday took effect, according to latest but dated Land Registry data. Jeremy Leaf told The Evening Standard: ‘This most comprehensive, although a little dated, of the house price surveys demonstrates the determination of buyers to stay in the market even though the maximum stamp duty concession was no longer available. Prices are a little lower than the previous month, which is understandable, but were still supported by low interest rates and lack of supply in particular. We have seen signs, on the ground, in the past few weeks, that more property is becoming available as sellers return from holiday, setting the scene for a fairly busy autumn market.'